Peter Scott McPherson

Peter Scott McPherson
Contact Information

Montreal Neurological Institute

3801 University Street Room BT205
Montreal, QC H3A 2B4

Email address: 
peter.mcpherson [at]
Distinguished James McGill Professor

PhD (Iowa), FRSC

Anatomy and Cell Biology
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Areas of interest: 

Molecular mechanisms of membrane trafficking in the endosomal system . Role of endosomal trafficking processes in neurological disease and cancer.

Current research: 

We are a medium sized lab ranging from 14-16 researchers based at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and McGill University. The lab is part of the MNI’s Neurodegenerative Disease Research Group, of which Dr. McPherson is the former Director. The lab is located in the Brain Tumour Research Centre, a modern and active research space. Our studies focus on the molecular mechanisms that regulate membrane trafficking within the endosomal system with an emphasis on such events in the nervous system.  In particular, we have focused on the formation and function of clathrin-coated pits and vesicles and the movement of proteins between the various compartments of multiple cell types including neurons. Remarkably, many of the proteins identified and characterized in the McPherson laboratory have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Parkinson disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS) and most recently, epileptic encephalopathy, a severe form of intellectual disorder. Moreover, the McPherson laboratory has demonstrated that alterations in endosomal membrane trafficking lead to various forms of cancer including breast cancer and devastating brain tumours called gliomas.


Peter McPherson is a Distinguished James McGill Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University. He received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Iowa working with Dr. Kevin P Campbell and performed post-doctoral training with Dr. Pietro De Camilli at Yale. His laboratory uses biochemical, cell biological, molecular biological and structural approaches to identify and functionally characterize proteins regulating membrane trafficking in the endosomal system. He has published pioneering papers using subcellular proteomics to study the molecular make up of endosomal membranes and has identified numerous links between endocytic membrane trafficking and neurological disease including ataxia, ALS and epileptic encephalopathy. His laboratory has developed approaches for antibody production and validation. Dr. McPherson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Back to top